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Data is one of the most valuable assets in the world. The Amazons and Microsofts of the world spend billions annually on storing, capturing, and analyzing data. Data helps create informed decisions, but that approach does not need to be reserved for just large corporations. We collect large amounts of data every year from plans reviewed by our Berks County Planning Commission and insights provided by our Workforce Development Board. We too can use data to make informed policies and decisions.

When we launched IMAGINE Berks back in 2022, one of the areas we struggled with was figuring out what baseline metrics and data to use. We knew that not every data point would trend in a positive direction, however, we knew that it would still be important to track. Data without context or understanding lacks value. Our job is to not only report on the data we collect, but to add context and meaning for land use and public policies and strategies for our community.

On the “Our Impact” section of the IMAGINE Berks website, you can see the data we are tracking in an interactive set of charts and figures powered by Microsoft PowerBI. This platform allows us to upload information, create charts and share narrative around the 5 focus areas of the plan and visualize empirical and process metrics. Data is just one of many tools in we are using to help us – IMAGINE Berks.